Power & Predictability, Part 1
In the summer of 1940, one year after the United Kingdom officially entered WWII, German commanders hatched a plot to break the will of the British people. The plan was strategic and simple; every night for 57 consecutive evenings, hundreds of Nazi planes would shower their bombs over London with the ultimate goal of a British surrender. While the Nazi bombing ruined the city of London, their plan did little to impact the psyche of the people living there. How could this be?
There are two specific things that can contribute to increases in anxiety and stress: unpredictability and lack of control. The Nazi’s strategy failed because the British people knew the Nazi’s were going to bomb every night – the attacks were predictable. With shelters available when needed, the Londoners also felt a sense of control as they knew they could take action to increase their odds of survival. So, how can this be applied to pitching?
Lack of control – after the ball leaves your hand, you no longer have control over the outcome.
Unpredictability – the pitch could be called a strike, called a ball, caught by the catcher, or hit to the outfield bleachers.
No matter what example we look at, a similar idea behind stress and alleviation applies. That a perception of uncertainty or a lack of control all intensify the impact of stressors. The goal of the Nazi’s Blitz failed at its core because the Londoners’ were able to use predictability and power to help alleviate their stressful situation.
A quick glimpse into history, I use this example often as the lessons of predictability and power can be applied to pitching. We’ll take a deeper dive into these ties next time and review the steps you can take to alleviate stress while on the mound.
“On our way back to IL from ATL we listened to 90%. I saw Will pull out his phone and start taking notes. He then began to hit the pause button to finish his note as not to miss anything that was to come. I asked him what were some things that he got from his first run with this book. He said the “Little Man”, the “Stop Sign”, “Breathe”, and “Anchor Statements; specifically the Boat & Anchor analogy”. Mr. Tewks is doing incredible work and I saw it with my son Will. It has been the single best development piece of Will’s 14U season.”
“Tewks talked about different things as far as the mental side of the game, and building that relationship with him I had a trust where I could go and bounce things off of him. He’s a no BS guy. I knew he wouldn’t pussyfoot around with me. I knew if I asked him a question, he would give me an honest answer, both on the pitching side and on the mental side. I knew I would get that from him.”
“He tells you what he sees, and he calls you out on things. He makes you better as a player as you go along. The biggest thing I’ve found is that if a player continues to seek advice, seek help, there are people who can help that player get the most out of his potential on the baseball field.”
“He’s got more instant credibility and more to offer if a player or staff is so inclined to engage with him because of his long career in baseball. As we know, pitching is the loneliest thing you can do.”
“What Bob brings to the table, Bob did it. He was there. He had his career,” Ravizza says. “When Bob talks about the mental game, I listen, because he’s walked the walk. I really have so much respect for him.”
“I’ve worked with other people, but the stuff we put in place in Boston is what I’m still using today,” Miller says. “It’s a very important part of my success, or turnaround. It’s something I take very seriously and I think it’s had a big impact on my pitching.”
“Having worked with Tewks as a player as well as a coach, I’ve been lucky enough to see firsthand how much he can impact individuals and teams. He has been invaluable to me personally throughout my career, as well as our baseball team at Boston College.”